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What to do when you finish reading the Bible?

What to do when you finish reading the Bible?

When you’ve finished reading the Bible, you should start from the beginning and read it again, because the Bible is the Word of God and it is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

The Bible is completely different

On one level the Bible is a book like any other: it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, you can read it like any other from start to finish, and so ask “what should I do when I’ve finished reading it?” However, in reality, the Bible is completely different from any other book in the world.

The Bible is the Word of God

This is because only the Bible is the Word of God, that is, the Bible is God’s own very words written down. For example, in the Old Testament many times the phrase “thus says the LORD” occurs (see e.g. Exodus 4:22; 1 Kings 11:31; Isaiah 7:7). Or, in the New Testament we read in Acts 4:25: “You [that is, God] spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David…” and then the rest of the verse quotes from Psalm 2. In other words, Psalm 2 was ultimately written by God Himself. Indeed according to 2 Timothy 3:16 “all Scripture is God-breathed…” In this verse the word “Scripture” refers to the Old Testament, but in 2 Peter 3:16 Peter puts Paul’s letters alongside “other Scriptures [i.e. the Old Testament],” thereby including them as Scripture. Indeed, based on verses like John 14:26 and 16:12-15 (where Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will remind the apostles and teach them) we can say that the New Testament is also Scripture; that it is God’s Word.

We hear God Himself speaking

As God’s Word, the Bible is unlike any other book ever written – it is not an object to be analysed and dissected, but rather when we read the Bible (or hear it faithfully taught) we hear God Himself speaking to us and addressing us. Let me give an example.

Listen to Gods voice

In the book of Exodus in chapter 17, Israel complain to Moses that they’ve not got any water to drink. Moses prays to the LORD, and the LORD tells Moses to strike the rock and that water will come out of it (vv. 1-6). Verse 7 concludes with Moses calling that place “Massah” and “Meribah,” which mean “testing” and “quarrelling” respectively, because Israel tested the LORD and grumbled against Him. When Moses first wrote Exodus, and an Israelite read these verses, they should have encouraged them to listen to God, and to trust and not doubt Him.

Interestingly, Psalm 95:8-11 picks up on this incident in Israel’s history, and makes the same application: “today, if you hear His [God’s] voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the dessert…” In other words, when Psalm 95 was written, God was saying the exact same thing to those hearers as He was when Moses wrote Exodus 17.

Not only this, but Hebrews 3:7-11 quotes Psalm 95:7b-11, but it introduces the quote saying “so, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice…” That is, what the Holy Spirit said in the past, in Exodus 17 and Psalm 95, He is still saying (in Hebrews 3:7 “says” is in the present tense) when Hebrews was written. And indeed, the Holy Spirit is still saying the same thing to us today. From this we can draw a principle: what the Holy Spirit has said in Scripture, He is still saying to us today. Or as the author of Hebrews puts it: “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Read it again!

Therefore, when you’ve finished reading the Bible, read it again! For the Bible is God’s Word to us, it is living and active, and therefore it will teach us, rebuke us, correct us, train us in righteous, so that we may be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

How does this Bible passage speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read How to read the Bible?

What to do when you finish reading the Bible?
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James Steer

James Steer

James had the privilege of growing up in Christian home, and decided to follow Jesus during his teenage years. After studying chemistry at university and working in the pharmaceutical industry, he began training for Christian ministry. After completing an M.Th. at Oak Hill Theological College he and his wife spent five years as missionaries working in Thailand. He now lives in Cambridge, England, and is the pastor for International students at St Andrew the Great church.

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What to do when you finish reading the Bible?
E-book for the coronavirus crisis
This e-book has lessons for you from the early church relevant to us today.
Download free e-book